Top US diplomat’s trip comes at a time of declining influence for America in the Middle East.
Top-level diplomacy often involves tricky footwork, but it rarely comes trickier than during US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Saudi Arabia.
In the few months since his last visit to the region, the geopolitical landscape has dramatically altered.
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Saudi’s restoration of ties with Iran, brokered by China, took the United States by surprise.
Riyadh has ignored US requests to boost oil production, which would help keep prices lower and US voters happy, after the rises caused by the war in Ukraine.
Blinken will meet ministers from other Gulf states, too.
This comes at a time of intensified aggression against the Palestinians under the new far-right government in Israel.
So what’s putting strains on US influence in the Middle East?
And can Blinken mend its fraying ties?
Presenter: Imran Khan
Abdulaziz Alghashian – Saudi affairs analyst and fellow at the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation project at Lancaster University
Hillary Mann Leverett – former US diplomat, former National Security Council official, and CEO of STRATEGA, a political risk consulting firm
Foad Izadi – head of American Studies Department at Faculty for World Studies at the University of Tehran